Scientists call the 6,000 miles wide storm on Neptune a surprising discovery. The planet was found to be marked some bright clouds in a place they ever haven’t appeared: the equator. Scientists were aware of clouds on Neptune, but they usually appeared near the poles.
A dark vortex with a very high-pressure might have caused this huge storm (which had a size similar to Earth).
The gases rose from the vortex, cooled and condensed, forming clouds. But don’t think that those clouds are similar to ours on Earth. Methane clouds are present on Neptune, and have been seen near the poles until now.
Professors Try to Pin the Origin of Clouds
Imke de Pater, a professor from the University of California at Berkeley, US stated that they’ve never seen such clouds on Neptune this far from the poles. Usually they’ve appeared near the poles and not near the equator. The bright color is also new in their observations.
They tried to explain this phenomenon by linking it to a vortex which might have created a convective cloud. Other planets had a similar convective cloud, but there’s a discrepancy in this answer. A convective cloud will “smear out” in a week’s time, which didn’t happen to Neptune’s clouds.
Ned Molter, a graduate student from UC Berkeley found the clouds on Neptune as he was testing the WM Keck Observatory telescope at dawn. Ned Molter observed the phenomenon from 26 June to 2 July and saw that the clouds turned brighter and brighter at that low latitude. He was very surprised at the sight of the bright storm, and who wouldn’t be, since it’s a first-time event.
Neptune is a very windy planet, having storms which reach 1,000 mph at the equator. The storms are incomparable with storms on Earth, where a category 5 hurricane has a wind speed of only 156 mph. The biggest speed at which a tornado can spin is 300 mph.
Imagine what will it happen on a planet at 1,000 mph wind speed!